Radio Beatkolektif

Blueneck “King Nine”

The fifth full-length release from Somerset’s Blueneck finds the champions of exhilarating melancholy charting new territory while still retaining the soulful core that has made them the darlings of delicate song-based post-rock.
Established fans should prepare themselves for a change: gone are the triumphant and relentless crescendos of The Fallen Host, no more the cold desert sparseness of Epilogue. Instead King Nine possesses more level dynamics with more saturated soundscapes and production wherein the band embrace more electronic and synthesized elements than ever before.
‘Counting Out’ opens the record richly with what is – by Blueneck standards – a fairly up-tempo pace, the driving piano phrase conveying real impetus only to be undercut by a darkening chromatic shift. This is a band who have always embraced musical and emotional ambiguity and they do not disappoint here. They waste little time in laying down a shimmering guitar line that lifts and propels the piece and seems to scroll over it in parallax like the view from a train window. The track swells and fades to a crystalline coda threaded through by the gossamer filigree of Duncan Attwood’s fractured vocals that let the song die gently. They may have started with a burst of energy, but they are still prone to pensive mood swings.
The proceeding track ‘Sirens’ revolves around a haunting melody and gnarly bass sound that conspire to hypnotise you until the intensity ramps up, the sound deepens and fills out, the screwdriver riding the guitar strings in beautifully deranged fashion. This is both fragile and fulminating, a Blueneck trademark.
Titular track ‘King Nine’ is a standout, opening with the gentle pulse of a drum machine accompanied by a throbbing synthesizer that gradually coalesces to give birth to the vocal line. The instrumentation is delicate and languid, the strings surface and fall away like moonlit marine life. This is a very powerful and romantic piece and an excellent distillation of what this album can achieve when it hits its stride.